North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrives in Russia by train to meet with Vladimir Putin | International

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The leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, arrived in Russia this Tuesday to hold a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, in an attempt to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the two countries. “I can confirm it. "That's right," said Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov in statements to the Russian news agency Interfax. Hours earlier, sources from the South Korean Ministry of Defense had indicated that Kim had arrived in Russian territory after a trip of several hours by train. The two leaders held their first bilateral meeting on Russian territory in April 2019. Their first meeting is expected to take place this Tuesday afternoon.

Both the Russian authorities and the North Korean state agency KCNA had previously confirmed the meeting between the two leaders, after which Peskov stated that it would be in the far east of the country. The plane carrying Putin landed on Monday in the city of Vladivostok, where the Eastern Economic Forum is being held, in which the Russian president will participate. “We are talking about negotiations between two delegations that, of course, are headed by the leaders of the two countries. There will be face-to-face communication, there will be an official dinner by Putin in honor of Kim Jong-un. No press conference is planned,” Peskov added.

The visit would mark Kim's first to the country in almost four and a half years and his first departure from the country since the coronavirus pandemic broke out. Pyongyang has sought to boost its relations with Russia as South Korea, the United States and Japan increase their security and defense collaboration. The United States authorities have warned of this possible meeting over the last few days with the aim of signing an agreement for the supply of weapons that allows Russia to obtain material to which it does not have access due to the international sanctions imposed in response to his invasion of the Ukraine.

In this sense, last week, The New York Times He announced that Putin would want North Korea to sell artillery and anti-tank missiles to Russia, while Pyongyang would want in exchange satellite or nuclear propulsion technology for submarines, as well as food aid. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko noted today, also in Vladivostok, that the issue of providing humanitarian aid to North Korea may be one of the issues that Putin and Kim address.

According to a brief text sent to the media by a spokesperson for the South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), Kim's train crossed the Tuman River Friendship Bridge, the only land transportation route that connects the two countries, "early in the morning." the morning” (local time) of this Tuesday. At the moment it is unknown if the pertinent changes have been made to the train so that it can run on Russian railways (whose gauge is different from that used in North Korea), a procedure that can take hours.

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From the North Korean capital to the border bridge over the Tuman River there are about 560 kilometers, while from Khasan, the first Russian station on the other side of the divide, to Vladivostok, there are another 200 kilometers of railway tracks. According to photos published by North Korean media, Kim is accompanied by the Ministers of Foreign and Defense, Choe Son-hui and Kang Sun-nam, and senior military representatives, including the director of the Industrial Department of Munitions, Jo Chun-ryong. Also in the delegation appears to be Pak Thae-song, secretary for Science and Education of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party who is linked to the North Korean space program.

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